The New England Patriots’ home base of Foxboro, Massachusetts, is getting blasted Thursday by whatever we’re calling this winter storm that’s raking the U.S. East Coast, with howling winds and eight to 12 inches of snow expected before it’s all over. Nevertheless, the Patriots’ players made it clear Wednesday that they would be expected by Coach Bill Belichick to be present and on time for Thursday’s practice, which was scheduled to begin at 10:35 a.m. EST.
Yes, even if New England has a bye this weekend as the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.
“He’s mentioned that he doesn’t care: ‘Don’t call and say your car got stuck.’ I think everyone knows there are two hotels up here at Patriot Place, so stay there for the night. Find a way,” safety Devin McCourty said, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss.
“I tell guys, ‘Wake up earlier.’ Especially if you don’t have a garage or something. Wake up and go clean your car off. I think guys know. We’re in the NFL playoffs. I think everyone, if you’ve been here for a week or two weeks, you kind of get that – ‘this guy Bill that talks every day in the early morning, he doesn’t play.’
“So not much needs to be said about being here on time and being ready to work.”
In December 2009, Reiss recounts, Belichick sent home four players when they didn’t make it to the team’s facility on time because of inclement weather.
“Like I saw that on ESPN,” McCourty told the Boston Herald. “I knew not to come late. I found a couple nice places (to live) that are about 15 or 20 minutes away my rookie year and I was like, ‘Nah, I’ll do the three minutes away.’ I think guys know that. You see it. You see that around the league when you’re in college.”
Belichick was asked Thursday morning, before practice, about his expectations that the players show up on time despite the arctic conditions.
“Every day’s a work day,” he said, as usual refusing to elaborate further.
The Patriots did get one reprieve, however: Thursday’s session was moved to the indoor practice field at the team’s facility, even though Belichick sounded as if he’d rather have held it outside in the dire elements.
“I like to prepare our team for the game as best that we can, so there are a lot of things that go into consideration,” he said when asked how he makes such a decision.